ESPN inks two-year deal to bring SportsCenter to Snapchat as it eyes younger audience
ESPN is bringing its flagship SportsCenter show to Snapchat, marking the first time a daily sports show has aired on the platform.
The move signals that the sports giant is ready to embrace a short-form approach to content amid ongoing struggles with cord-cutters, the need to appeal to younger viewers and dwindling revenues.
From today onwards (12 November) two episodes of the revamped show will land on Snapchat each day; one at 5am and one at 5pm with each lasting between three-to-five-minutes a piece.
ESPN is bringing its flagship SportsCenter show to Snapchat Discover,
The deal will last for two years, and will see Snap and ESPN share advertising revenues generated via the segment, though it's not known what the split will be.
ESPN revealed its ambitions to make the show digital-only back in February but at the time it was understood that content would live on ESPN's own app. However, it appears to have changed course in order to reach the eyeballs of Snapchat's, largely millennial, 158-million strong userbase.
Regular hosts poised to appear in the new slot will include Katie Nolan, who recently joined ESPN, as well as Elle Duncan, Cassidy Hubbarth, Jason Fitz and Cy Amundson.
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“SportsCenter on Snapchat provides a creative new format and platform for our flagship franchise to continue to evolve,” said Connor Schell, ESPN executive vice-president of content.
The contract deepens the relationship between Snap and ESPN's parent firm, Walt Disney, and comes just days after Disney announced during its most recent earnings call that the new ESPN-branded streaming service ESPN+ would debut next spring.
During the update, Disney announced that the cable networks in its portfolio had noted a revenue dip of 23% to $1.5bn year-on-year. It placed the blame for a lower operating income to a "decline at ESPN," fuelled by higher programming costs, lower advertising revenue and severance and contract termination costs.
ESPN is a longstanding partner of Snapchat Discover, the app's section for publishers.